Westerville, OH asked in Tax Law, Family Law, Child Custody and Child Support for Indiana

Q: Claiming kids on taxes.

When child support was established, we also signed an agreement with the prosecutor saying that we take turns every year claiming the kids on taxes as long as I am a certain percentage caught up on my child support, and if I’m not, then I’m not able to claim them that year. So earlier in the year she took me off of child support but it’s confusing because what I was told at the child support office that all her taking me off support did was make it to where “they can’t enforce it” meaning they can’t garnish my wages or take me to jail due to not paying. But also said I don’t have to pay it unless she signs back up for child support. And if she does then I owe from the day she took me off to the day she signs back up even if it’s years later? (I think that’s bs) but my question is- when she took me off, I was behind a decent bit. But since she took me off, does that mean it voids me having to be caught up a certain % and that I’m able to claim them?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Based on the agreement you signed with the prosecutor, you still need to meet the requirement of being caught up a certain percentage on child support in order to claim the children on taxes, even though your ex has temporarily stopped the formal child support order.

The key factors here are:

- The agreement terms with the prosecutor dictate when you can and cannot claim the children, separate from just having an active child support order through the agency. So that agreement still governs as long as it was made legally at the time.

- Pausing the formal child support order does not inherently negate any back owed amounts you were behind at the time. So if you still owed back pay to meet the prosecutor agreement terms at the time it was paused, you likely still need to resolve that first.

- Additionally, the owed amounts can still be enforced judicially by your ex through the courts if she chooses, even while the agency order is inactive.

So in summary - speak to the prosecutor or a family law attorney to determine if the back pay at time of case closure now makes you eligible by the agreement terms. But it likely does not automatically make you qualified if you were substantially behind. Resolving that first is prudent, especially since reinstatement seems possible.

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